I promised myself not to write more about George W. Bush. I”ve written about him and my deep loathing of everything he stands for enough. I promised myself I was going to write about something involving this campus, something that would strike closer to home. Perhaps something about the BAMN/BSU brawl, but that, and the resulting flurry of mail received was embarrassing enough, without any need for me to add my two cents.

Paul Wong
An investigator carries a piece of wreckage from the site of the plane crash that killed 10 people associated with the Oklahoma State basketball team.<br><br>AP PHOTO

So I was at a loss. What to write about? And then I read the paper and saw that Bush has continued his theme of doing everything wrong and my muse jumped up and down on my shoulder, pointing at a column for me to write.

On Friday, an earthquake hit India, in my home state of Gujarat. I was filled with relief when I heard from my mother that my grandparents were fine. Shaken (pardon the pun), but fine.

The death toll is expected to reach at least 15,000 (by the most conservative estimates) and may be as high as 30,000 to 40,000. It”s the type of disaster that begs for humanitarian relief, especially in a nation plagued with an already disastrous economy. Canada, Switzerland, Thailand, England … even China (a nation which has been historical enemies with India) have sent aid, in the form of money, supplies and manpower.

And then we turn to George W. His actions (or lack thereof) and words have always been slightly hilarious, slightly upsetting, slightly mediocre. But on this particular issue his actions (or lack thereof) and words aren”t simply cause for laughter. His actions (or lack thereof) and words are incredibly indicative of the type of man who is now at the helm of this nation.

In the face of incredible need, W. was capable of only this: “I send my condolences and those of the American people to the families of the many victims in the cities and villages of Gujarat and elsewhere.”

He probably doesn”t even know how to pronounce “Gujarat.”

Condolences? Who the hell needs condolences, especially from a man who currently controls one of the wealthiest nations in the world? India doesn”t care about his faux-grief, they care about the lives of the thousands of people missing, dying, screaming for help.

Not to say that America owes anything to anyone that”s certainly not the case. But this is the type of situation requiring something more than a $25,000 gift certificate from Richard Celeste, U.S. ambassador to India, from a fund specified for disaster relief. $25,000 wasn”t enough to buy W.”s admissions into Yale it certainly isn”t enough to save the lives of thousands.

And what has W. been doing in the mean time? According to The New York Times, he”s putting forth efforts (re: money) into a program to fund religious groups, in an overwhelming display of his lack of constitutional knowledge. Separation of church and state, anyone?

Speaking as a non-Christian (non-religious, in fact), non-white, non-majority male, I”d like to give W. a swift not-so-non-violent kick in the groin.

While he”s busy trying to shove religion down the throats of Americans as if Jesus H. Christ is the answer to this nation”s problems people are dying. Not just dying in the intangible, world-hunger, civil-strife manner. People are literally dying from a natural disaster that should supercede petty governmental policy decisions. Fine, India doesn”t produce oil (which is apparently the only thing Bush cares about, or knows about). But one would think that a guy who claims to read the Bible every day of his manufactured life would at least give a damn about the lives of thousands of people. I suppose that the excess melanin in their skin makes them unworthy of that “compassionate conservatism” talk that W. was so fond of.

In the face of two major issues, W. has chosen the worst possible route. Offering only condolences when aid is needed is selfish and careless. Offering Christianity as a solution to inner-city violence is horribly naive and is more of an attempt to avoid the real, structural issues that plague the poverty-stricken portions of this population.

A friend told me a while back that Bush”s ascension to the White House is going to prove wondrous for journalists as long as he”s in office making all the wrong moves, we”ll always have something to write about.

I suppose I agree, but that”s a heavy price to pay. I would rather be scraping for something to write, instead of being constantly faced with yet another George W. Bush misstep.

Manish Raiji”s column runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached via e-mail at mraiji@umich.edu.

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